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Bloodiest Day in American History: Antietam/Sharpsburg

Written By: Martha Boltz  |  Posted: Monday, September 27th, 2010

BETHANY BEACH, Del. - The autumn days of September are beautiful in Maryland, with lush farmland, colorful leaves in every tint and the Potomac River rolling along until it meets the Shenandoah at Harper's Ferry, W.Va. Running into the Potomac is Antietam Creek, not far from the sleepy town of Sharpsburg, Md., and those two sites - Antietam and Sharpsburg - have given their names to the bloodiest day in American military history.

What the South called the Battle of Sharpsburg for the town, the North named Antietam after the creek, but the result was the same and has both linked and damned the two names forever. On this day 148 years ago, 127, 160 young and old men marched into battle. And on that same day, 2, 108 soldiers died fighting to preserve the Union, and 2, 700 Southern soldiers also died fighting to preserve their way of life and drive out intruders. An additional 9, 549 Union soldiers were wounded, as well as 9, 024 Confederates.

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